The Vibration of Consciousness: The Spanda Kārikā (15-21 May @ Deer Park)

What: Introduction and Retreat-Seminar in the tradition of Nondual Kashmir Śaivism
When: 15 May 2015 (Introductory seminar) and 16-21 May 2015 (retreat-seminar)
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Dr. Bettina Sharada Bäumer, Varanasi

The Vibration of Consciousness: The Spanda Kārikā with Commentary by Kṣemarāja

A Retreat-Seminar in the tradition of Nondual Kashmir Śaivism

The Spanda Kārikā or “Verses on Vibration” by Vasugupta (9thcentury, Kashmir) is one of the foundational texts of Kashmir Shaivism which teaches the dynamic nature of the Absolute, of the cosmos and of human consciousness. Its Nirnaya Commentary by Ksemarāja, direct disciple of Abhinavagupta (11th century) adds a lucid spiritual interpretation to the concise verses of the text.

Spanda means creative vibration and the inner divine dynamism which pervades everything, and which can be mystically realized in one’s own essential nature. The text teaches an analysis of consciousness and a way to full awakening (suprabuddha).

Program:

  • Two sessions of text teaching daily
  • 4-5 hours of meditation
  • Walks in nature
  • Recitation of hymns and ślokas (Sanskrit)
  • Silence from dinner time till next day lunch included

Note : Silence is essential for the practice of the teaching and for maintaining an atmosphere of retreat.

Requirements for participation:

Basic knowledge of Indian spirituality and philosophy and basic knowledge of Sanskrit is an ideal preparation, though not a necessary condition for participation.

Experience in meditation is a necessary requirement.

Text editions and translations recommended:

Spanda-Kārikās. The Divine Creative Pulsation, ed. and transl. by Jaideva Singh, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1980 ff.

Dyczkowski, Mark S.G. : The Stanzas on Vibration. The Spandakārikā with four Commentaries, Albany: SUNY Series in the Shaiva Traditions of Kashmir, 1992.

Dyczkowski, Mark S.G.: The Doctrine of Vibration, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 2006

Silburn, Lilian: Spandakārikā. Stances sur la vibration de Vasugupta et leurs gloses, (French transl.), Paris: Ed. de. Boccard, 1990.

For more information, see www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/the-vibration-of-consciousness-the-spanda-k-rik/

Open Volunteer Period for Sustainable Living (10-30 May @ Dharmalaya)

What: Informal, minimally-structured volunteer opportunities
Activities: Earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping
When: 10-30 May 2015 (Volunteers may arrive and depart anytime during this period, with a minimum stay of one week)
WhereDharmalaya Institute, Bir (Ghornala)
Languages: English & Hindi
Who: No formal facilitation, but as-needed guidance from Dharmalaya staff and artisans, e.g. Sidney Rosario, Raj Kumar (‘Raju’), et al.

 Description: Informal volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute open to both residential and non-residential participants. During this period, there is no structured educational or training programme as such, but there is plenty of physical work to do — including earthen building (adobe, bamboo, etc.), organic gardening, natural landscaping and possibly some tree planting — and Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn about green living and Himalayan culture in the process.

For more information see dharmalaya.in/events/2015/3/1/open-volunteer-period-10-30-may-2015.html

 

The Wisdom Chapter of “The Way of the Boddhisattva” (9-13 May @ Deer Park)

What: Teachings on the Wisdom Chapter of “The Way of the Boddhisattva” by Shantideva
When: 9-13 May 2015
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Khenpo Sonam Tsewang

Teachings on the Wisdom Chapter of “Way of the Boddhisattva”

The “Ketaka Gem” (Tib. Norbu Ketaka, Wyl. nor bu ke ta ka), a commentary on the ninth chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara written by Mipham Rinpoche, based on the teachings of Patrul Rinpoche. It was composed in 1878, when Mipham Rinpoche was 32.

Lhobpon Rechunpa said:

“From the emanation of Lokeshvara, Dza Paltrul Rinpoche, [Mipham Rinpoche] received the Wisdom Chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara in only five days. Based on this, he wrote the commentary on the Wisdom Chapter known as the She Drel Keta Ka.”

Mipham Rinpoche himself said:

“When I was young, I was present when many accomplished, learned lamas gave Dharma teachings, but I only seriously studied Dza Patrul Rinpoche’s teachings on the Wisdom Chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara. Later, in dependence on the kindness of my venerable lama and Manjushri, no difficulties with study ever arose for me.”

In the ninth chapter of Nectar of Manjushri’s Speech, Khenpo Kunpal’s commentary on the whole Bodhicharyavatara, Khenpo Kunpal closely followed (almost verbatim) Mipham Rinpoche’s Norbu Ketaka.

About the Teacher

Khenpo Sonam Tsewang is a khenpo (equivalent of Professor of Buddhism) at Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, the advanced center of philosophical study at Namdroling Monastery, Bylakkuppe. He finished his graduation in Buddhism from Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Varanasi and also from Ngagyur Nyingma Institute, Namdroling. He has translated for His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and Khenchen Pema Sherab Rinpoche on many occasions. He published published English translations of books such as “How to Follow a Spiritual Master”, “The All Pervading Melodious Sound of Thunder : the Outer Liberation Story of Terton Migyur Dorje” and “Drops of Nectar”. He was enthroned as a Khenpo (equivalent of Professor of Philosophy) at Namdroling Monastery in 2010 by His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche. Khenpo Sonam travels extensively with his root Guru, Khenchen Pema Sherab Rinpoche, for international teaching tours. In the process, he is also receiving close personal guidance and spiritual instructions from Khen Rinpoche.

For more information, see www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/teachings-on-the-wisdom-chapter-of-way-of-the-boddhisattva

Sustainable Living in the Himalayas — A Service-Learning Retreat (1-8 May @ Dharmalaya Institute)

What: Sustainable Living in the Himalayas — A Service-Learning Retreat
When: 1-8 May 2015
WhereDharmalaya Institute, Bir (Ghornala Village)
Who: Mark Moore, Sourabh Phadke, et al.

Raising the roofA week-long mindful adventure in sustainable and compassionate living, providing opportunities for exploration of both inner and outer sustainability. We will practice meditation not only sitting on the cushion but also in action, performing mindful service work doing organic gardening, eco-friendly earthen construction, and natural landscaping around the beautiful Dharmalaya campus.

Groups sessions may include the following:

  • Sitting meditation (instruction and practice)
  • Explorations of various aspects of sustainable and compassionate living
  • Conscious movement: Hatha yoga and/or chi kung (morning/evening sessions)
  • Hands-on workshops in traditional earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping

Space is limited, so advance registration is required. For information and registration, use this form.

“A Darshan in Vimalakirti Sutra” with Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche (28-29 April @ Deer Park)

What: A Darshan in Vimalakirti Sutra
When: 28-29 April 2015
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra (Sanskrit: विमलकीर्तिनिर्देशसूत्र) or Vimalakīrti Sūtra is a Mahayana Buddhist sutra. Sometimes used in the title, the word nirdeśa means “instruction, advice”. The sutra teaches, among other subjects, the meaning of nondualism. It contains a report of a teaching addressed to both arhats and bodhisattvas by the upāsaka (lay practitioner) Vimalakīrti, who expounds the doctrine of śūnyatā to them. This culminates with the wordless teaching of silence. The sutra has been influential in East Asian Buddhism for its “brash humor” and flexibility. It has also been influential in Mahayana Buddhism for its inclusiveness and respect for non-monastic practitioners as well as stating the equal role of women in Buddhism.

Darśana (also Darśan or Darshan; Sanskrit: दर्शन) is a term meaning “auspicious sight” (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding and being seen or beheld at the same time; from a root dṛś “to see”), vision, apparition, or glimpse. It is most commonly used for theophany, “manifestation / visions of the divine” in Hindu worship, e.g. of a deity (especially in image form), or a very holy person or artifact. One could also “receive” darshana or a glimpse of the deity in the temple, or from a great saintly person, such as a great guru.

Nagarjuna, one of the most important Indian Buddhist philosophers, wrote in his Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way) that the wise person perceives true reality (tattva-darśana). In Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, darśana came to be an important concept. As scholar Paul Harrison has noted: “By the second century CE, then, the vision of the Buddha (buddha-darśana) and the accompanying hearing of the Dharma (dharma-śravaṇa) are represented as a transformative experience of decisive importance for practitioners, be they renunciants or householders.”  The term darśana-citta (a seeing mental event) became an important term in Sanskrit Abhidharma literature. Indian Mahayana philosophers Vasubandhu and Asanga divided the Buddhist path(marga) into five paths, of which the third is the “path of seeing” (darśana-marga).

For more information, see www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/a-darshan-in-vimalakirti-sutra/

Open Volunteer Period for Sustainable Living (15-29 April @ Dharmalaya Institute)

What: Informal, minimally-structured volunteer opportunities
Activities: Earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping
When: 15-29 April 2015 (Volunteers may arrive and depart anytime during this period)
Where: Dharmalaya Institute, Bir (Ghornala)
Languages: English & Hindi
Who: Facilitated by Mark Moore, Raj Kumar (‘Raju’), Naresh Kumar Sharma, et al.

Raising the roofDescription: Informal volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute open to both residential and non-residential participants. During this period, there is no structured educational or training programme as such, but there is plenty of physical work to do — including earthen building (adobe, bamboo, etc.), organic gardening, natural landscaping and possibly some tree planting — and Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn about green living and Himalayan culture in the process.

For more information see Dharmalaya’s volunteer page, read the FAQ, and then complete the volunteer application if you’re interesting in joining.

Madhyamakavatara Retreat (14-23 April @ Deer Park)

What: Ten-day Retreat on Madhyamakavatara (Entry into the Middle Way) by Acharya Chandrakirti
When: 14-23 April 2015
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Ven. Geshe Dorji Damdul

Acharya Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara is a classic commentary on Arya Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika. It elucidates the true import of Arya Nagarjuna’s mangnum opus by clearly bringing out the meaning of the Ultimate Reality through an insight into Dependent Origination. Madhyamakavatara also expands upon several points in the Sutra of the Ten Bhumis (Dashabhumika Sutra).

The path to enlightenment can be viewed in terms of the ground, path and result. The ground is the two truths of emptiness and dependent origination. The path consists of the wisdom and method, which one engages in through understanding the two truths; emptiness being the basis of the wisdom aspect and dependent origination of the method aspect. The result can be seen as two-fold as well, the realisation of wisdom gives rise to the dharmakaya and of the method aspect of the path to the rupakaya. Thus, understanding the two truths leads to the two paths, which in turn leads to the two resultant states of the dharmakaya and the rupakaya. This text covers the profound aspect of Arya Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika, whose subject matter can be understood in essence as emptiness, as well as the vast aspect related to the paths and the bhumis.

Ven. Geshe Dorji Damdul la will also bring in explanations from “‘Thorough Elucidation of the Intent: An Extensive Exposition of ‘Entering the Middle Way’”, by Lama Tsongkhapa, one of the most elaborate and precise commentaries on Acharya Chandrakirti’s text.

For information, see www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/madhyamakavatara-entry-into-the-middle-way-by-acharya-chandrakirti/

A Renaissance of Vernacular Eco-Architecture

DharmalayaBir (HP) — India is playing host to the birth of a renaissance of vernacular eco-architecture. Hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds are awakening to both the urgent socio-ecological crises of our time and the potential for us to find solutions in India’s own rural traditions.

Case in point: To preserve and advance the distinctive and beautiful forms of traditional earthen architecture of the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, the Dharmalaya Institute, in partnership with esteemed vernacular architect Didi Contractor, established a formal, academically-supervised Internship in Vernacular Eco-Architecture in May 2013.

Not quite two years later, the Dharmalaya Institute has grown to become one of the most popular vernacular architecture training centres in India and South Asia. Though it has not yet even completed the construction of its campus, it has already attracted scores of architects and civil engineers from across India, Europe, the Americas, and Australia, most of whom learned of the institute either through the recommendations of their architecture professors or by word of mouth spreading far and wide among the green-minded designers and builders of India and beyond.

› Read the rest of the story here

An Introductory Buddhist Retreat with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (3-5 April @ Deer Park)

What: Easter Retreat, “An introductory Buddhist retreat” (View, Meditation, Action)
When: 3-5 April 2015 (9am-12noon & 3-5pm)
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

An intensive study-practise retreat aimed to introduce new students to Buddhadharma and refresh “old”students!

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a renowned Buddhist teacher, popular worldwide for her warm, clear and down-to-earth presentation of the Dharma and its application in daily life. The inspiring story of her life, including 12 years of secluded retreat in a Himalayan cave, is the subject of a well-known biography, “Cave in the Snow”. Jetsunma is the founder and abbess of Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery near Tashijong, H.P (www.tenzinpalmo.com).

For information: www.deerpark.in/programs/schedule/easter-retreat-an-introductory-buddhist-retreat-view-meditation-action/

Open Volunteer Period at Dharmalaya Institute (8 Dec – 6 Mar)

What: Informal, minimally-structured volunteer opportunities

Activities: Earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping

When: 8 December 2014 through 6 March 2015 (Volunteers may arrive and depart anytime during this period)

Where: Dharmalaya Institute

Languages: English & Hindi

Facilitators: Various (Raju, Shekar, Sourabh, et al.)

Raising the roofDescription: Informal volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute open to both residential and non-residential participants. During this period, there is no structured educational or training programme as such, but there is plenty of physical work to do — including earthen building (adobe, bamboo, etc.), organic gardening, natural landscaping and possibly some tree planting — and Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn about green living and Himalayan culture in the process.

Since there is no formal instruction during this period and there is no organised programme, one simply jumps in and does whatever needs doing on a given day, learning by watching others and then doing it yourself. In such an unstructured or loosely guided situation, sometimes one needs to ask for help if one needs it, so a certain degree of self-motivation and initiative makes for the best experience. It also helps to bring a healthy sense of flexibility, since the work to be done might vary from one day to the next, depending on circumstances. If that appeals to you, you’re welcome to come and go anytime during this period.

For more information see Dharmalaya’s volunteer page, read the FAQ, and then complete the volunteer application if you’re interesting in volunteering.